After weeks of remote learning due to COVID-19, many school students in New South Wales began a staggered return to classrooms last week.
Students in other states, such as some in Queensland, were also back in the classroom.
Others like Victoria are weeks away from returning. Premier Daniel Andrews said some students (in prep, years 1 and 2, and years 11 and 12) will go back to school on May 26.
And Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan announced all school students in the state must return to the classroom from May 18.
Watch: The horoscopes homeschooling their kids. Post continues below.
We surveyed more than 10,000 public school teachers in NSW to find out how they felt about being at school at the end of term one, their thoughts on remote learning and feelings about returning to school.
Our survey – with responses from April 17 to May 10 – showed fewer than one in four teachers felt safe working on the school site at the end of term one. But nearly 95 per cent felt safe working from home.
During the school holidays, when the survey began, only 13 per cent of teachers reported feeling happy to continue working in direct contact with children and colleagues.
So, has the flattening of the curve been enough to reassure teachers it is now safe to work with students and colleagues in schools?
Anxiety about being in the classroom
At the end of term one and the beginning of term two in NSW, many teachers were delivering online lessons from their classrooms to students at home, as well as to smaller numbers of students who continued to attend school.
Almost all these teachers felt pressured to continue working on the school site.
One teacher said:
As an older teacher with an older husband at home who has compromised lungs, I feel very anxious about being at school. I do not appreciate, after teaching in the public system for 40 years, being treated as a guinea pig and a political scapegoat.
Very hard as an educator in a higher risk category to feel secure going to work each day when the school’s ordered delivery of sanitiser and wipes still hasn’t arrived and parents are sending sick kids to school #CloseTheSchools
— Koalita (@Koalita9) March 18, 2020